Mirjam Melin, Co-founder of Rock Against The Rail & Susan Sack,Co-founder of Block GLB Railroad
8608 East Rye Drive 3799 East 7th Road
Clinton, WI 53525 Mendota, IL 61342
For Immediate Release Proposed Rail Responds to Federal Agency Request
On September 9, 2016 the Surface Transportation Board requested additional information from
Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. (GLBT) regarding the average number of trains per day
forecasted for each segment, the anticipated average speed of the trains and the anticipated average
train length for the proposed GLBT toll railroad.
GLBT provided their answers on November 10, 2016 as requested by the STB.
GLBT submitted train speeds based on maximum speeds allowed by freight type; intermodal 70
mph,coal and grain 45-55 mph, Oil 45 mph, General Car loads 55 mph.
The number of trains per day, their lengths and speeds vary and are broken down by sections based
on railroad interchange points. At the northern end of the route, GLBT estimates that there will be
1-2 trains per day in the first year of operation on the Rock County, WI segment. By year three,
GLBT estimates there to be 3-8 trains per day on that segment. At the Rochelle area section mile
marker164 estimates range from 4-8 trains per day the first year to 17 to 34 by the third year. At
Earlville mile marker 140, an approximate midpoint, the first year estimates are 11-20 trains per
day increasing to 56-86 the third year. Manteno mile marker 63 is the site of the proposed 1,500 acre
rail port. It is estimated the Manteno to Lowell Indiana stretches would see 21-35 trains daily the
first year increasing to 56-85 per day the third year.
GLB advised information provided in regards to the number of trains per day forecasted is based on
traffic projections based on Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) traffic maps.
Opposition to the rail points out it is not based on information or assurances provided by any of the
railroads (GLBT’s potential customers) which the proposed toll rail would intersect.
It was earlier revealed two of the six Class I railroads, Union Pacific and Norfolk & Southern have
publicly stated they have no interest in using the GLBT proposed rail. The remaining four Class I
railroads have not publicly stated that they will use the proposed GLBT toll rail.
GLB’s letter dated November 10, 2016, states the following; “The volume of traffic that would be
carried on the proposed line, and thus GLBR’s forecast of that volume, depends on many factors.
These include the level of economic activity when construction of the line is completed, the types and
volumes of rail freight traffic which would be transiting through the Chicago area at that time, and
the business decisions of GLBR's connecting railroads and their shippers.”
Mirjam Melin Co-founder of a grassroots opposition group Rock the Rail noted, “From all publicly
available information it seems that GLBT is building this rail purely on speculation and a ‘If you
build it, they will come’ philosophy. This entrepreneurial way of thinking is admirable only if you
gamble with your own or your investors assets but not if you risk assets of people who involuntarily
have become part of your project”.
The proposed 3 state toll railroad has come under scrutiny with over 4,000 opposition statements
being submitted to the federal Surface Transportation Board and thousands of citizens using social
media and informational outreach meetings to unite and educate themselves.
Susan Sack of Block GLB commented, “ GLB would require the taking of property via eminent
domain and taxpayers might end up footing the bill. Transparency of finances and a detailed
business plan including customers who have agreed to pay to use the line must be available to
determine feasibility. Citizens and communities should not bear the burden of risk for a speculative
Many of the comments submitted to the STB have addressed concerns over the negative economic
impact on communities and landowners, safety concerns, and environmental concerns. Submissions
site a GLBT employee Mr. Pehta, market advisor, stating 90% of the ‘privately financed’ rail line
would be paid for by federal railroad grants raising the question; If this project would go bankrupt
who would be stuck with the debt? http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059996700
Carl Zimmerman, Earlville area farmer and co founder of Block GLB expressed disappointment
upon reading the data submitted. “GLB did not provide answers as to who is going to pay to ship
freight on the proposed rail or even what types of freight: oil, coal, grain, or intermodal, would be
traveling through our communities. All that was provided was a disclaimer that the data provided
was a guess as there were many variables.”
The STB has provided GLB with a late Nov. deadline for an additional information request.
Other GLBT news
In a telephone conversation on November 10, 2016, Surface Transportation Board's Office of
Environmental Analysis project manager Ken Blodgett confirmed that any letters written re Docket
# 35952 (the proposed GLBT rail) will be processed, entered into the Public Record and considered in
writing the Draft Scope of Study and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). He stated
that the public should be assured that their comments would be considered and he encouraged the
public to write. Mr. Blodgett acknowledged the public’s frustration with the complicity of the
approval process. Aside from this, he also acknowledged that the people in Washington DC were
unfamiliar with the complexities of farming and the impacts the proposed rail would have.
John Hintzsche, AG instructor and Ogle County farmer noted, “The fact the people making the
decisions admittedly know little about Midwest farming operations should be a reason for those in
the farming community to provide detailed descriptions of their operations and the negative impacts
the proposed rail would have. People 30 miles each side of the proposed route should by submitting.”
The STB’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) will update the public once a range of reasonable
alternatives has been defined and will invite comment from the public on those alternatives prior to
issuing the Final Scope of Study. Mr. Blodgett indicated that the writing of the Draft Scope of Study
(the outline of what will be studied and considered in the Draft EIS) might take several months yet.
It would likely be early 2017, he stated, when the next official Public Comment period would open.
It is important for the public to be aware that the STB has stated the following; “As part of our
environmental review process, we will identify and evaluate any reasonable and feasible alternative
routes to the proposed rail line route shown on the map. We anticipate that any such alternative
routes would likely be located within approximately 30 miles of the proposed rail line.
Thus, the project area consists of a 60-mile wide corridor (i.e., 30 miles on either side of the
proposed rail line).” (emphasis added)
For additional information or to fact check:
Click on the Documents and Related Links tab at www.greatlakesbasinraileis.com and look
under Information Requests for the complete November 10, 2016 GLBT response.
www.BlockGLBrailroad.com and the linked county face book pages or